B&NES has taken emergency steps to try and ease the traffic congestion that has gripped the city this week.
According to a spokesperson, indications from traffic monitoring from the last three days shows that these steps are having an impact; traffic congestion is around its usual level during peak time and during the off peak period there has been slightly less traffic than usual.
A number of factors have created congestion problems including Freshers week, a bus breakdown, collisions causing road closures and irresponsible parking. Unavoidable roadworks at North Parade have also had a contributory effect.
The Council’s contractor and highways and traffic teams will continue to monitor the network over the weekend to assist traffic flows. They are also looking at ways to speed up delivery of the North Parade works, and considering further restrictions on utility companies who want to carry out non-essential works in the city centre.
Actions already taken
The Council has taken a series of actions including:
Temporarily suspending one signal crossing in Dorchester Street until October 30. Three other crossings are available along this short road. This action should also benefit public transport movements.
Opening up Avon Street to St James Parade to all traffic – it was previously restricted to buses and taxis.
Additional VMS signage to inform the public and direct traffic away from the North Parade area.
Changing city centre traffic light timings. Continuous monitoring is in place and signals staff are out and about ready to make any further necessary signal timing adjustments.
More regular and high-visibility enforcement from parking staff to prevent drop-offs and deliveries creating congestion.
On Monday the bus gate was opened to allow traffic to flow through.
Traffic marshals have been deployed from the start of the works on North Parade, and provide updates and information to allow rapid responses to traffic issues.
Closing a temporary pedestrian crossing on Manvers Street. There are signal controlled crossings at either end of Manvers and Pierrepoint Streets.
The Council is also considering changing junction priorities to see if traffic can be moved through the Bath Quays Development site more quickly.
The Council anticipates that these measures will result in further reduction to traffic congestion in the city centre and a return to normal traffic flows. Monitoring indicates that the steps we’re taking are having an effect, but we will continue to keep a close eye over the weekend and into next week.
Councillor Anthony Clarke (Conservative, Lansdown), Cabinet Member for Transport, said: “I would like to thank the travelling public for their patience over the last week or so. We’re very aware of the recent congestion issues and are doing everything that we can to keep traffic flowing through the city. We will continue to monitor this and put in place measures to tackle it as best we can. Bath’s road network is already operating at near capacity especially at peak times and so it only takes a small number of incidents to cause significant traffic problems.
“We appreciate that work at North Parade is having a knock-on effect on the congestion. We have carried out patch repairs to North Parade over the last few years but the lower levels of the road surface are now in desperate need of repair. It is clearly better to take preventative action now than to allow the road to deteriorate further and cause greater long term disruption. I would like to see the works completed ahead of time and officers are looking at how this could be achieved.”